Maternity

Welcome to our maternity services.
This is a very exciting time for you and your family and we hope to support and guide you through the coming months. Almost 6,000 babies are born annually at our hospitals. We support women and their families through pregnancy, labour, birth and the postnatal period.

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Supporting pregnant women using maternity services during the coronavirus pandemic

We thank you for your support and understanding during the challenges we have faced as a result of COVID-19.

We are really pleased to announce that from Tuesday 13 April, we will be inviting your support partners to attend all antenatal appointments with you. Due to restrictions we have had in place to comply with National Guidance, we have only been able to invite your support partner in for your dating/NT scan, anomaly scan and your 36 week consultant appointment and we understand how important it is for you to have the person of your choice with you every step of the way.

In order to ensure everyone remains safe whilst we open up our services, we unfortunately will continue to ask your support partners to wait outside. We must ensure we maintain social distancing and our waiting areas only allow this for you, the pregnant lady at this point.

We will continue to supply all appropriate PPE, inviting you, and your support partner to use hand sanitiser and adopt suitable face coverings on entry. We unfortunately cannot allow any support partners entry if they are not wearing a face covering.

In addition to the above, we are also pleased to confirm we are extending our maternity visiting hours. Due to restrictions this has been set at 3 hours, however from 13th April, we can now welcome one consistent support partner on our maternity wards between 1pm and 7pm. Ward bookings will be required, and we continue to request appropriate PPE and adherence to social distancing.

We have worked hard preparing all of our sites to ensure they remain safe for you, your support partner, other patients and our staff. We still have some work to do at our Skegness site and for the time being if you have an appointment for a growth scan in your third trimester we can only invite you into the room, to ensure social distancing. We understand this may be disappointing, therefore, whilst we are working hard to resolve this, we are happy to reschedule your appointment to one of our alternative sites, Lincoln or Pilgrim. If you are impacted by this and would like to re-arrange, please call the clinic in advance of your scheduled appointment and we can discuss options with you. We will update you as soon as possible once we have made the suitable changes.

We recently announced the opening up of antenatal appointments for your support partners and extended maternity visiting hours.

Following on from further national guidance, we are pleased to now be communicating further changes to positively contribute to your maternity and neonatal journey with us, including antenatal appointments. The changes outlined below will take effect from 7th June 2021.

For parents with a baby in neonatal care on one of our sites, we can now offer access to both parents, or partners in care, 24 hours a day. This includes overnight stays where accommodation allows.

In addition to this, we are pleased to continue the extended visiting hours on our maternity wards of 1 – 7pm, however a booking system is no longer required. Please note, we unfortunately still cannot allow children on our wards at this time.

As Covid-19 restrictions start to ease, allowing us to further open up our services, the safety of you, your families and our staff remain a high priority. Though many people are now vaccinated, there are still many who have not been and it’s important we keep people protected. Regular asymptomatic testing continues to be an important contributor to reducing transmission of the virus.

Therefore, we strongly encourage, and recommend you and your support partner or visitor participate in the free lateral flow testing scheme prior to any visit to the hospital, including antenatal appointments.

It’s really easy to obtain a testing kit, if you haven’t already done so. You can order via the government website, or you can collect from participating pharmacies and other local sites.

You can visit the government website for more information, to order online or find a location convenient for you.

When you arrive for your appointment, or visit, you will be asked for some basic details by a member of staff and whether you have taken a lateral flow test prior to arrival. Where tests have been taken, we will ask you to show us your negative result submission. If you are a support partner or visitor and test positive, we unfortunately cannot allow admission into our ward or clinic environment.

Although testing remains voluntary at this time, supporting us and each other by participating in the lateral flow scheme contributes significantly to the safety of us all, as does the continued requirement for appropriate PPE, including face masks, and social distancing guidelines.

During busy periods on our maternity and neonatal wards, we still need to ensure social distancing. Therefore, there may be occasions where we ask you to be flexible with timings so we can ensure guidelines remain achievable and adhered to resulting in optimal safety for you, your families and our staff.

Whilst we hope you join us in celebrating these positive steps, we understand you may have some questions. We have collated some possible questions and the answers below to help you further.

If you still have any questions, a member of staff will be able provide more information.

Why does my partner have to wait outside the antenatal clinic?

Due to the legal requirement to socially distance, we have needed to make changes to our waiting areas. Currently, all of our waiting areas have been adjusted to ensure the seating is in line with social distancing requirements. If we were to add to this, or allow additional people, even if standing, we would not be able to adhere to the social distancing rules. This is the safest way for you, your partners, staff and other patients.

What if the weather is bad, does my support partner still need to wait outside?

Unfortunately, we will still require your support partner to wait outside of clinic. To help, we suggest you check the weather forecast and arrive prepared for risk of adverse weather. We are also looking at options to provide seating and shelter to make the wait times easier for your support partners.

How will my support partner know it is time for my appointment?

We ask your support partner stays close to clinic and for you to call or fetch them when you are called for your appointment. Once your appointment is over, we ask your support partner to leave the clinic. If you need to stay in the clinic because you need to see another healthcare professional, you can call your support partner back in if you wish.

What happens if I cannot wear a face covering to my antenatal appointment?

We ask that all staff, patients and support partners wear a face covering. We will offer a fresh, approved mask on entry to the clinic. If you cannot wear a face mask, we ask a suitable alternative is worn, for example a visor. If you are unable to wear any type of face covering, please call the clinic in advance of your appointment and speak to one of our midwives who can discuss options with you to ensure optimum safety for both you, other patients and staff.

What happens if my support partner cannot wear a face covering?

We ask that all staff, patients and support partners wear a face covering. We will offer a fresh, approved mask on entry to the clinic or maternity ward. If your support partner cannot wear a face mask, we ask a suitable alternative is worn, for example a visor. If your support partner cannot wear any type of face covering, unfortunately we cannot allow them into the clinic for the safety of our staff and other patients. There may be exceptions to this, and we ask for prior notification if face coverings will be a challenge for your support partner.

Can I have more than one support partner?

Unfortunately, you can only have one support partner with you. This is to ensure social distancing and for optimum safety. This rule also applies to children, they are not permitted into clinic, the scanning rooms or the maternity wards. We appreciate there may be exceptions to this, from a childcare perspective, and ask for prior notification to discuss with you.

Why do we need to test ourselves, why aren’t you offering this at clinic?

Offering testing on your arrival is something we have considered however this isn’t practical with the amount of pregnant ladies and now support partners who can attend. It would also mean we would be asking you to attend your appointment 30-40 minutes before your scheduled time to allow for taking the test and waiting for results and we appreciate not everyone could make that commitment.

Do we have to self-test before my appointment?

No, testing is not mandatory. We strongly encourage you take part in the national testing offer to help keep yourself, your partner and others safe, and not just before your appointment time, twice weekly as per the Government guidance.

If I want to self-test, where can I get the kit from?

There are several ways you can obtain lateral flow testing kits. You can order via the government website, or alternatively you can collect from participating pharmacies and other local sites.

You can use this link https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests for more information, to order online or find a location convenient for you.

What do I do if I test at home and the result is positive?

If you take a test at home and the result is positive or if you display any signs or symptoms of Coronavirus, please call the clinic to let us know. If your appointment can be safely rearranged, we can discuss options with you. If your appointment cannot be rearranged, don’t worry, we will still see you as planned, but we may need to discuss an alternative time or location with you to ensure your safety, and the safety of our other patients and staff.

If you wish for your support partner to attend, we still invite them to do so as long as they have not had a positive test result or displaying symptoms and awaiting a test result.

Can my supporting partner attend if they test positive?

Unfortunately, we cannot allow your support partner to attend if they have tested positive for Coronavirus, or are displaying symptoms. They will need to fulfil the self-isolation requirements to keep themselves and others safe.

What happens if I go into labour and don’t have time to self-test at home?

You may recall in January 2021, we introduced voluntary lateral flow testing for our maternity admissions, including if you are admitted for labour. This has not changed, and we will offer you and your support partner a test on arrival.

What if my support partner leaves the maternity ward at 7pm and then I go into labour?

If you go into active labour outside of 1pm and 7pm and your support partner is not present, don’t worry. Your support partner will be able to come back to the ward to be with you.

How does my support partner make a ward booking?

Your support partner can make a booking by calling the relevant ward. They will be asked some wellbeing questions and given guidance for their visit.

How long will these restrictions be in place?

Currently, we are not sure. Our national guidance is continually updated and we make changes to reflect new information. As soon as we are notified of any other changes, we will send communications.

We thank you for your continued support. The hospital continues to work through national guidance on visiting, whilst taking the necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of staff as required by legislation.

Our Maternity Teams are working hard as always to ensure you and your baby are kept safe and you have a positive experience of birth during the Covid-19 outbreak.

We have:

  • Redesigned our services in line with Royal College of Obstetricians & Gynaecologists (RCOG).
  • Implemented ‘Attend Anywhere’ virtual antenatal and postnatal consultations which helps personalise your care, when it is needed to be provided over the phone.
  • Implemented routine swabbing for Covid 19 for; admissions to Labour Ward, Induction of Labour and for Elective Caesarean Sections.
  • Encouraged early discharge home.
  • Following national guidance of use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

We are ready and waiting to care for you and you baby, pandemic or not.

For further information on for pregnant women and their families, please visit the RCOG website.

For Further information on COVID-19 testing for maternity care, please click download this swabbing information document.

 

 

Lincolnshire Maternity Voice Partnership (MVP)